By Ben Lawson
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has initiated a civil rights probe into the alleged assault on an inmate at the Sevier County Jail.
According to FBI Special Agent in Charge Rick Lambert, the investigation will focus on whether jail personnel provided adequate protection for inmate Ronald McDaniel, 36, and if he was provided medical care quickly.
The incident, which falls under the “color of law” civil rights statute, occurred on June 5. McDaniel was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he was listed in critical condition.
Public affairs specialist Stacie Bohanan said the incident was reported the night of Thursday the 7 and the investigation began the following day. While the initial collection of evidence and testimonies should not take long, the final phase will involve the Department of Justice and could span several months.
Lambert indicated that civil rights violation complaints were common, but the allegation that jail staff did not protect the victim from harm was rarer.
On Monday, a Sevier County Grand Jury indicted Edmund Walter Dahm, 39, on one count of aggravated assault in McDaniel’s beating.
Although this case is the first of its kind for Sevier County, the jail has faced other inquires in recent months. The facility was recently cleared on any wrongdoing in the death of an inmate from a drug overdose in February, while another inmate death is still under investigation. A number of assault related lawsuits are also pending.
FBI Investigates Alleged Assault
By Ben Lawson